Former New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones, died on Thursday. A contemporary of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, his later work was strongly influenced by his commitment to Black Nationalist ideals. His poems were as controversial as they were influential.
Faced with a rapid tempo one night, Kenny Clarke devised a new way to play the beat on the ride cymbal. His “spang-a-lang,” and the rhythmic ideas it generated, wound up transforming the way we feel swing ever after.
The New York music marathon turns 10 this year and expands far beyond its modest origins, but it remains a place to discover new views of improvisation. Hear tunes from groups like the Jeff Ballard Trio, Tillery and Aruán Ortiz’s Orbiting Quartet.
Whether famous or obscure, dozens of artists, producers, documentarians and others who contributed to the music’s growth left us last year. Here’s a thorough list — and 12 who didn’t make all the headlines.
Much as families reunite around the holidays, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s artistic director convened his own family reunion of sorts at the end of the year. His working band of the ’90s — one of his best — came together again to ring in 2014.
The tables are turned, as McPartland sits at the guest bench to discuss her life as a performer and as the host of Piano Jazz. She reminisces about moments from the program’s early days; then, guest host Elvis Costello sings as McPartland plays “Our Love Is Here to Stay.”
The decorated young jazz singer describes his gospel roots and performs songs from Liquid Spirit.
A 24-year-old with a taste for finely aged songs, the vocalist was one of the breakout jazz stars of 2013. Accompanied by pianist Aaron Diehl’s trio, she performs at the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Festival.
A Jazz Messenger, a Young Lion, a New Orleans torchbearer, a mentor for new talent: when leading bands, the “King of Nouveau Swing” merges all that and more. The alto saxophonist leads a young rhythm section on New Year’s Eve.
The vocal gymnast comes from a musical family — his father was the first African American man to sing at the Metropolitan opera, and an important interpreter of spirituals. He sings his own takes on spirituals and then some — with his daughter.